Thursday, October 18, 2018

Rome - Part 3 - The Colosseum and the Altare della Patria

I hope that you are enjoying our little tour of Rome, Dear Friends! 
Today, we will visit The Colosseum on our final day in Rome.

Our time in Rome was spent with my two son's,
their wives, my little grandson, and my eldest son's best friend.
We also traveled together on the same flight.

My daughter and husband, were joining us on this,
our last night in Rome and then we were all traveling
 together to stay in Tuscany for a week.

My eldest son's in-laws, were meeting us there to celebrate his 40th birthday.

So, here we are on the 3rd and last day in Rome to visit the Colosseum.   

We will also visit The Altare della Patria.
 The Altar of the Fatherland. 

We arrived at a back gate for 
the Colosseum. 

It was early morning and we were the only people
at this gate. 

This back entrance included a self-guided tour 
as part of the on-line ticket price. 

This area was used to house animals and fodder
and were as old as the Colosseum.

The sun was bright and the day would quickly become
quite warm, but here, in this quiet place against the hillside,
it was refreshingly cool, with the calls of unfamiliar birds
 and strange, beautiful wildflowers.

We pose under an ancient arch. 

The hillside above was filled with fragrant olive trees.

Ramblin' Man and the son swear they saw
 a large, iridescent green bird fly into one of them :)

The olives were almost ripe, as it was early Sept.

Our first glimpse of the Colosseum was startling, 
as it remains the largest amphitheater ever built. 
It was constructed between AD - 72 and AD - 80,
right after the reign of Nero. 

I knew the early history of the Colosseum 
 and I felt a bit of trepidation.

History is not always uplifting
and hopefully, man-kind learns from 
its mistakes, although sometimes it 
takes more than one try. 

The pathway here was paved with very rough cobbles, 
so the little one gets a ride on Grandpa's 
shoulders and the stroller is folded for carrying.

We come upon The Arch of Titus constructed in AD 82.

You can click on the link to see the incredible detail
and history.

From there it was a short walk to the Colosseum.

Our pre-paid tickets allowed us to go
right inside the dark, cave-like corridor that circled
around the inner arena where countless Christians
were thrown to the lions, gladiators dueled to the death,
and hapless animals were killed for entertainment.
I couldn't put it out of my mind that
 as tourists, we were marveling over
an ancient structure that was the scene of so much
horror, blithely taking photos and 'selfies'
while ancient ghosts watched from the shadows.

You can see the immense
scale of the structure.

The catacombs in the lower level were used to house animals.
There was tremendous slaughter here, of both people
and animals. It is estimated that 400,000 people
and 1,000,000 animals died here.

To think of the spectators cheering.......
so horrifying.

This arena was estimated to hold between 50,000 - 80,000 people.

And since Halloween is just around the corner,
think of being a night-guard here!


I try to imagine the history of sorrow and tragedy
 being gradually transformed
by the happy thoughts of the 4 million tourists each year,
as we take our vacation photos among the ruins.

A lone falcon keeps watch.

We view the Arch of Constantine
built in 312, from the upper level.

Construction goes on nearby.

We catch a glimpse of the Roman goddess of Victory on
the Altare della Patria - our next stop.

The Italian people have worked very hard to
create a new and uplifting future here.
There has been much restoration in recent years,
and many happy events, including concerts by
Paul McCartney, Elton John and others.

The Catholic Church has also been instrumental in
purifying the site with ceremonies, including an
annual Via Crucis ( Stations of the Cross ) every Good Friday,
 and other ceremonies in remembrance of all the Christian Martyr's.

We leave the vastness of the Colosseum and walk towards the
Altare della Patria under billowing clouds.
My son, Dustin, leads the way.

It is very hot and the sidewalks are crowded,
so we search for a cool place to refresh ourselves
with a bit of lunch.

The scenery is so beautiful.

We find this cool oasis to enjoy our lunch.

We were reluctant to leave this leafy bower.......


Back on the crowded streets, we see the twin statues
of the Goddess Victoria riding her quadriga (chariot
pulled by four horses) atop the Altare della Patria.

They are quite a spectacular sight
and can be seen throughout most of Rome.

This is my favorite photo of Rome.

The tomb of the unknown soldier resides here.
This is a military museum.

My little grandson plays on the marble steps
in the shade of the immense columns.

We overlook the The Piazza Venezia, the central 
hub of Rome, where several thoroughfares meet. 
If you click on the link, you will see an excellent view
of the Altare della Patria. 

A convenient site-map. 

You can see the Colosseum to the upper-right.

Of course we had to get a photo here :)
There was a welcome breeze blowing my hair......

This seagull was unfazed by all the people and stood
there stoically as everyone took photos.

As we descend to the Piazza, we see
Rome's beauty under watchful eyes.

We take the long walk back to our hotel, arriving
exhausted, but filled with indescribable reverence
for the visionaries who built such an amazing city
 and the preservationists who safeguard
 and restore these earthly treasures,
which allow us access to human history in all its
splendid and sometimes tragic glory.


Next time - Under the Tuscan Sun

"Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny
place you occupy in the world."
- Gustave Flaubert -

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